Book Review

TARNISHED
by Karina Cooper

Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

2012 Steampunk Novel Award Winner

RT Rating

An alternate London is the perfect setting for this steampunk thriller. Everything about this book is completely captivating. The characters are compelling, the story flows quickly and evenly and the plot surprises with unexpected twists and turns. The author’s voice is unusual and creative, adding to the mystique of the retro-Victorian atmosphere. Fans of classic horror and urban fantasy will enjoy all this book has to offer. Although you won’t find a happily ever after, Tarnished provides the foundation for the possibility of one in the future. I cannot wait for what’s next for Cherry St. Croix. This is absolutely one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.

Cherry St. Croix is a debutante by day, bounty hunter (or collector) by night. In her sordid city of London, polite society lives above a dark underbelly of advanced technology and dazzling magic. While on the hunt for a murderer, Cherry must face her dark past, confront her competing identities and decide what is most important: her life or her reputation. (AVON, Jun., 384 pp $7.99)

Reviewed By: Terri Dukes

Publisher: AVON

Published: June 2012

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LITERAL ADDICTION's Review of Tarnished

Submitted by MichelleLOlson on October 5, 2012 - 12:27pm.

Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Pack Alpha - Michelle L. Olson:

I really enjoyed the first installment of Karina's new ST CROIX CHRONICLES. My exact, though somewhat uncouth, words upon completion of the book were: "Holy dark & twisted Steampunky Franknsteinesque urban fantasy. I like it!!" :)

Steampunk is a delicate blend of Victorian and Industry - think corsets and bustles meet gears, steam engines, and airship pirates. In Tarnished, London is split into two distinct worlds following a sort of pollution apocalypse. There's the lower London, where smog is literally cloying and thievery and darkness abound, and the upper London where the well-to-doers reside, pretending that life `below' never happened. Our heroine, Cherry, lives in both worlds but fits wholly in neither.

As the daughter of a scientist whom people thought mad, she's quite evolved for a Victorian age woman, and yet never fully accepted by society. She loves science and debate, and feels utterly at home with a good reference book or periodical - all of the things that a high born female should not engage in. Her every action is scrutinized by the rest of the upper London elite, and therefore, Cherry finds it necessary to live a dual life. When she's not posing for the rest of the upper London society, she dresses up as a boy and works as a bounty hunter and assassin in lower London while trying to find creative ways to keep herself functioning after an awful childhood left her with an opium addiction that she's unable to shake.

The heart of Tarnished revolves around Cherry's quest to find and apprehend the madman whom killed some of her lower London ladies of the night acquaintances, while trying to keep up her dual personalities and have somewhat of a normal love life.

She is torn between a highborn lad from the Compton family who comes to court her, and her pseudo boss and `Sir of the Night' if you will, the dark and mysterious Micajah Hawke - ruler of the Midnight Menagerie. Like Cherry herself, the two sides of her love life battle between dark and light, upper and lower, proper and scandalous.

As I touched on in my initial comments regarding the book, the murder mystery that Cherry investigates has a lovely Frankensteinesque quality about it and I found myself utterly intrigued.

Tarnished is a compelling tale of myth and reality and covers all the grey ground between light and dark. It was a book I'm not likely to forget any time soon, and I'm excited to see where Karina takes us next with the series.

LITERAL ADDICTION gives Tarnished 4 Skulls.